Thursday, November 15, 2012
The scale of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is immense: more than 3.5 million people view the parade live along the parade route, and more than 50 million viewers tune in to the television broadcast. Spectators watch in awe as 10,000 participants — including the nation's best marching bands, performance groups, giant helium balloons, breathtaking floats and the one-and-only Santa Claus — pass before their eyes.
This year is the 86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The Parade will kick off at 77th Street and Central Park West, and then march down to Columbus Circle where it will turn onto Central Park South. At 6th Avenue, the Parade veers south and marches from 59th Street to 34th Street, where it will make its final turn and stop in front of Macy's Herald Square.
Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Viewing Locations:
- From Central Park West: the west side of the street from 70th Street to Columbus Circle and on the east side of the street from 70th to 65th Street
- Columbus Circle: the west side of the street.
- 6th Avenue: between 59th and 34th Streets
To ensure a good viewing location, get there early. Spectators arrive as early as 6:30am.
Facts About Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
- The first parade in 1924 was called the "Macy's Christmas Day Parade" although it took place on Thanksgiving Day.
- Live animals including camels, goats, elephants, and donkeys, were a part of the parade that inaugural year.
- The original parade route was from 145th Street and Convent Avenue to 34th Street and Herald Square.
- The floats were pulled by horses. In the first parade a white steed that was to aid in the Ben-Hur float disappeared at the last minute before the start of the parade.
- In 1925 and 1926, bears, lions, and tigers were added to the live animals used, but the use of these animals had to be discontinued because they scared children.
- In 1927, Macy's introduces the world famous giant helium balloons. The first balloons included Felix the Cat and Toy Soldier
- 1928 saw the first release of the giant balloons into the air at the end of the line of march. The balloons promptly exploded after reaching a certain altitude.
- The balloons were redesigned and again released. Equipped with a return address label, Macy's offered a prize for their return.
- In 1932, Clarence Chamberlain, an aviator flying above New York City, catches the Pig Balloon in mid air in order to claim the prize money.
- Santa Claus has ended the parade every year except 1933, the only year in which he led the parade.
- The parade was cancelled in 1942, 1943, and 1944 due to World War II.
- In 1955, the parade telecast returns to NBC after a two year tun on CBS.
- Due to a helium shortage in 1958, the balloons are brought down Broadway on cranes.
- In 1969 the Macy's Parade Studio moves to its current home in Hoboken, New Jersey in a former Tootsie Roll factory.
- The Dino the Dinosaur balloon was inducted into the American Museum of Natural History in 1975 as an honorary member.
- In 1977, the "Parade Lady" Jean McFaddin takes the helm of the parade, which she leads for the next 24 years.
- In the 1980s, the smaller "novelty" balloons were introduced, including the Macy's stars and the 30 foot triple-scoop ice cream cone. "Falloons" were also introduced at this time. A combination of float and cold air balloon, this is a highlight of the creativity of the Macy's Parade Studio.
- In 1989, the parade marches on through its very first snowstorm.
- The 1990s saw the parade balloons adding new characters from the internet, video games, and contemporary cartoons. Sonic the Hedgehog, Ask Jeeves, and the Rugrats were just a few of these balloons.
- The parade has attracted a sea of celebrities. The years have seen Harpo Marx, Jackie Gleason, Diana Ross, Sammy Davis, Jr., Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett, Barry Manilow, NSYNC, Shania Twain, and Christina Aguilera.
- Macy's is the world's second largest consumer of helium. The United States government is the first.
- If you laid every parade balloon since 1927 end to end they would stretch from Battery Park City to the Cloisters.
- More than 50,000 clowns have delighted millions of children along the parade route.
The nation's most beloved Parade will feature a host of new balloons, floats and special performances that will thrill millions of spectators. As the Parade marches on, fans will enjoy seeing returning giant balloon favorites including Kermit the Frog, Paul Frank's iconic monkey Julius, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Buzz Lightyear. Rolling down the center line, the famed spectacular's magical floating stages will transport viewers to worlds of whimsy and delight. For the 86th march, returning floating wonders include the ZhuZhu Pets® zhany ZHU-NIVERSE!, Discover's Frozen Fall Fun, the Oneida Indian Nation's True Spirit of Thanksgiving, and of course, the one-and-only Santa Claus on his magnificent high-flying sleigh.
2012 Participating Bands
- Banda Musical Delfines - Fortino Melgoza Gonzalez, Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico
- Father Ryan High School Marching Band, Nashville, Tennessee
- Kenton Ridge High School Marching Band, Springfield, Ohio
- Macy's Great American Marching Band, USA
- Niceville High School Marching Band, Niceville, Florida
- North Carolina A & T State University Marching Band, Greensboro, North Carolina
- NYPD Marching Band, New York
- Oak Ridge High School Marching Band, Conroe, Texas
- Saratoga High School, Saratoga, California
- United States Air Force Band, Washington, DC
- University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana
- Wyoming All-State Marching Band, Wyoming
- Hello Kitty
- Spongebob Squarepants
- Kermit the Frog
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid
- Kung Fu Panda
- Ronald McDonald
- Pillsbury Doughboy
- Buzz Lightyear
- Sailor Mickey
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Gift of Freedom
- Smurf Mushroom float
- Big Apple
- Bridge to the Future
- Marion-Carole Showboat
- Snoopy's doghouse
- Home baked goodness
- Elves raise the roof
- Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure
- On the roll again
- International Celebration clock tower
- Santa's Sleigh
- Woodland Family gathering
- Tom Turkey
- 1-2-3 Sesame Street
- True Spirit of Thanksgiving
- American Pride
- Fall Frozen Fun
- Christmas in Central Park
- Aflac Duck
- Funny Fire Brigage
- Breakfast Clowns
- Corny-Copia Clowns
- Funny Farm and Hoedown Clowns
- Nutty Prof. Einstiens and & Wacky Graduates
- Keystone Cops and Robbers
- Silly Seaside Clowns and Bathing Beauties
- Springtime Clowns
- Bananas and palm tree clowns
- Circus Clowns
- Birthday Party Clowns
- Holiday Clowns
- Funny Bone Medical Team
- Pre-K Clowns
- Malt Shop Clowns
- Pool Hall Clowns
- Half-baked holiday clowns
- rag doll clowns
- Santa's toy box Clowns
- Sleepy Clowns
- Hi Roller Skating Clowns
- Uncle Sam
- Planet Earth
- Harold the Policeman
- Harold the Fireman
- Geometric Balloons
- Charlie, Kit and CJ Christmas Elves
- Cloe the Holiday Clown
- Red Candy Cane
- Big Man Santa
- Spirit of America Dance
- Stagedoor Manor
- Varsity Spirit Cheer
Photo courtesty of Dillon Works